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Aboriginal Law and Indigenous Laws


Acts or statutes passed by governmental bodies that set out the law in a given jurisdiction. Statutes are passed by the federal government and in each provincial jurisdiction each year. Statutes passed may be new statutes or amendments of earlier statutes. The law, then, is the original act and any subsequent amendments to that act. Periodically, statutes and their amendments are gathered together and reissued as "Revised Statutes." Statutes are designated as statutes (S) or revised statutes (R.S.). There is also supporting legislation called "Regulations."

You can locate Canadian statutes online using CanLII or official government websites (e.g., Government of Canada, Nova Scotia), and print versions are available in the Primary Sources Room on the second floor of the library. Statutes for US, UK, and Commonwealth countries are also available in the Primary Sources Room.

While there are Indigenous laws, the legislation section under Aboriginal law focuses specifically on statutes from the Canadian government and subordinate colonial and settler bodies. See "Indigenous Law" for Indigenous legal traditions.

Legislative Databases

Constitutional Law

Both the Constitution Act of 1982 and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms affirm and acknowledge the rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada. 

Key Post-Confederation Legislation

International Law